Article

Human creativity, cultural evolution, and niche construction

Behavioral and Brain Sciences (Impact Factor: 20.77). 02/2000; 23(1):159-160. DOI: 10.1017/S0140525X00382413

ABSTRACT

Cultural evolution may be even more prolific in the generation of new forms than is biological evolution – especially when it takes the form of creative genius. Yet evolutionary theories have tended to overlook the factors that might select for outstanding individual creativity. A recent dual-inheritance theory is outlined and then integrated with the niche-construction theory of Laland et al.

0 Followers
 · 
8 Reads
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The seemingly innocent observation that the activities of organisms bring about changes in environments is so obvious that it seems an unlikely focus for a new line of thinking about evolution. Yet niche construction--as this process of organism-driven environmental modification is known--has hidden complexities. By transforming biotic and abiotic sources of natural selection in external environments, niche construction generates feedback in evolution on a scale hitherto underestimated--and in a manner that transforms the evolutionary dynamic. It also plays a critical role in ecology, supporting ecosystem engineering and influencing the flow of energy and nutrients through ecosystems. Despite this, niche construction has been given short shrift in theoretical biology, in part because it cannot be fully understood within the framework of standard evolutionary theory. Wedding evolution and ecology, this book extends evolutionary theory by formally including niche construction and ecological inheritance as additional evolutionary processes. The authors support their historic move with empirical data, theoretical population genetics, and conceptual models. They also describe new research methods capable of testing the theory. They demonstrate how their theory can resolve long-standing problems in ecology, particularly by advancing the sorely needed synthesis of ecology and evolution, and how it offers an evolutionary basis for the human sciences. Already hailed as a pioneering work by some of the world's most influential biologists, this is a rare, potentially field-changing contribution to the biological sciences.
    No preview · Book · Jan 2003
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This paper presents a new silica-based coating procedure for the protection of electrogalvanized steel against corrosion. Besides corrosion resistance properties, one of the main objectives of the study was to evaluate the viability of a simple and industrially easy-to-implement substitute to the widely employed chromate coatings that must be abandoned in the next years in the European Union. The silica-based layer was prepared from simple immersion of electrogalvanized sheets in a deposition bath composed of a nanometric silica particles/sodium metasilicate mixture at room temperature. After optimization of several parameters as deposition bath composition, immersion time, drying temperature and so on, the corrosion resistance was evaluated mainly by means of salt spray tests (SST) but also by electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) measurements. Results have shown to be very promising since the silica-based protective layer behaved almost as well as chromate coatings.
    No preview · Article · May 2005 · Surface and Coatings Technology
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In the modern world, creativity often culminates in material things or ideas about how to make them, and therefore should be of major interest of archaeologists, who deal with the material record of the past. Being the first recognizable techno-complex of hominin material culture, the Oldowan constitutes an interesting case for investigating creativity in early hominins. It presents, for the first time in the hominin record, a set of material culture signatures that make it a recognizable archaeological entity, such as the existence of “sites”, a novel behaviour of the systematic flaking of stone, and, arguably, an expansion of the dietary niche through the processing of animal resources. In this paper I rely on psychological and ecological approaches of creativity, which define different problem-solving procedures, to explore a range of feasible scenarios related to two questions about the Oldowan. Based on the known behaviours of non-human primates, I first attempt to identify derived behaviours (inventions) that can be considered truly creative events in the Oldowan record. I then focus on the question of whether the spread of the Oldowan after 2.5 Ma was due to social learning and cultural transmission, as opposed to independent re-inventions that can be defined as acts of mundane creativity. It is concluded that the majority of early Oldowan innovations are the continuation or extension of behavioural patterns that might have been shared by early hominins and nonhuman primates. Oldowan stone-tool making is the only major disjunction from behaviours of nonhuman primates and pre-Oldowan hominins. This first invention is followed by a long time of stasis in stone tool technology. Nevertheless, several organizational innovations in land-use patterns and in dietary spectra did occur. The emergence of the Oldowan represents a momentous threshold in hominin evolution because it involved exceptional creativity, essentially different from cognitive patterns shared with other hominids. This first occurrence marks a creative act in the sense that it provided an unexpected and interesting solution to problems faced by hominins. Innovations inferred from the Oldowan record after this event are mostly attributed to mundane creativity.
    No preview · Chapter · Dec 2012
Show more